The day that blends all the Joy of the cycle of the Jewish year

Put the joy of the Yamim Nora'im into Sukkot, Wonderful opportunity to do T'shuva Mei'Ahava.

Phil Chernofsky ,


Is Z'MAN SIMCHATEINU a default nick- name or a generic term because Sukkot doesn't have the specific identity, as do Pesach, the time of our freedom, and Shavuot, the time of the giving of the Torah?

Second question: What happened on the 15th of Tishrei? Pesach, Shavuot, Rosh HaShana Yom Kippur, Purim, Chanuka, Tish'a b'Av, Yom HaAtzmaut, Yom Yeru- shalayim - all are when they are because of what happened on their dates. What happened on 15 Tishrei?

(We will not mention the GR"A's answer to that question, about the return of the ANANEI HAKAVOD, the Heavenly Clouds that were taken away in the Wake of the Eigel HaZahav. It's a good answer, but so is what follows.)

PESACH: A seven day holiday in cele- bration of the Exodus from Egypt. Joyous? To be sure. But there are other emotions mixed in. Reliving the slavery and oppression. Seeing the pursuing Egyptian forces behind us, the sea in front, mountains to the left and right. And then what happens if we survive all of that? What then? Water, food, shelter - many other feelings mixed with the joy of Y'tzirat Mitzrayim.

Now take that joy and filter out all the other emotions. Just the joy of leaving Mitzrayim and being free. Just the joy. Dupicate that joy (put the original back into the Pesach mix) and plant it on the opposite side of the year. In the other first month of the year (Tishrei) and on the 15th day of the month. A seven day holiday of joy (without the extra baggage of Pesach).

SHAVUOT. Revelation at Sinai. Hearing G-d's voice. Experiencing His giving of the Torah to our nation. Joy? Of course. Other emotions? You bet. Awe and dread at Sinai, the fear of hearing G-d's voice, the Mountain held over our heads. Joy, with a strong admixture of other, conflicting emotions.

Filter out the pure joy, duplicate it, return the original joy to Shavuot, and - just like Shavuot follows seven days times seven, place its joy after the seven days of Sukkot. Call it Sh'mini Atzeret to correspond to Atzeret, one of the nicknames of Shavuot. And, since we are joyously celebrating the receiv- ing of the Torah, as Shavuot does, let's call the day Simchat Torah.

ROSH HASHANA & YOM KIPPUR. Yamim Nora'im. Days of awe. And trembling. Days of Judgment. Is there joy too? Yes. Definitely yes. But it is really mixed - and even overshadowed - by the seriousness of the days. But there is joy of being G-d's People. Of being given a chance to repent. of the warm feeling of a child for his Parent. Filter it out. Duplicate it. Put the original back. Very much needed then.

But now put the joy of the Yamim Nora'im into Sukkot. Wonderful oppor- tunity to do T'shuva Mei'Ahava. The joy allows us to carry T'shuva to a higher level. This process culminates with Hoshana Rabba, which have many features that resemble RH & YK - but with a different mood and mindset. We consider the CHATIMA to have extended from YK through Sukkot.

Z'man Simchateinu is not a default name. If is a perfect fit for Sukkot, the Chag that blends all the simcha of the cycle of the Jewish year.